The group of ‘harder-Left’ TDs comprising People Before Profit, RISE, and three members of the Independents4Change technical group has insisted that a left-focussed minority Government coalition is still possible.
Speaking after a meeting yesterday with Sinn Féin in which “quite a lot was achieved”, PBP’s Richard Boyd Barrett said that his grouping had expressed the view that such a Government “could introduce radical measures quickly… and they are keen as we are to continue to pursue those discussions”.
“There is a lot of common ground, but there’s also a lot more detail to discuss,” said Mr Boyd Barrett, adding that the group of seven is now negotiating as a bloc, but without Solidarity’s Mick Barry.
He said that in his opinion it is “important to mobilise against the possibility of a return to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael”.
“So we’re very supportive of the planned rally that’s taking place next Saturday week.”
He said that there are no policies that the two cannot agree upon, but that “there’s a lot more detail to be discussed”.
Both entities are in agreement that 100,000 public and affordable houses need to be built, though how that should be funded is less clear.
“It’s not clear to us what Sinn Féin’s plans are in that regard, so we need to explore that a bit further,” Mr Boyd Barrett said.
RISE’s Paul Murphy, meanwhile, acknowledged that his bloc’s plans are “significantly more far-reaching than Sinn Féin’s”.
“We recognise that, and we recognise that we don’t have a majority for a socialist government.
“So we’re therefore working towards joining people on the streets and saying we can have a Government here which excludes Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and which implements very important reforms,” he said.
“I think most people look with extreme scepticism at the play-acting of Fine Gael at the moment, saying: ‘Oh no, we don’t want to be in Government, we’re just talking about policy’,” he said.
“We’re not interested in passive speculation about what might happen — we want to press forward for a left minority Government, and really present what such a Government could do to the people, and to put it up to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to try and stop us,” Mr Boyd Barrett said.
He further reiterated a point he had made earlier in the post-election period, that “anybody who considers themselves even vaguely left wing has yearned for the realignment of Irish politics”.